While the cost of living in Tokyo is the highest in Japan, globally Tokyo ranks at number 10, after Hong Kong (2) and Singapore (5).
Excluding tuition fees, the living expenses for single students can be as low as JPY60,000 per month, averaging at about JPY130,000 per month.
A large portion of the living expenses usually goes to accomodation, with share houses starting from JPY29,000 per month, and single apartments usually costs about JPY70,000 to JPY90,000 per month (depending on location).
As our lab in Hongo campus is located in central Tokyo at the Bunkyo ward, rent is more expensive as compared to suburbs.
Some students may choose to stay close to the campus for convenience, others may choose larger and more comfortable rooms that may be less expensive but the student may need to commute daily by public transport. Public transport expenditure averages at JPY10,000 per month for a single student.
For those that stay close to the campus may commute by foot or bicycle (average bicycle cost ranges from JPY20,000 to JPY40,000, campus parking fees for bicycle is JPY1,500-JPY2,500 per month).
Groceries can start from JPY25,000 and averages at JPY40,000 to JPY50,000 per month. Eating out may be more expensive but there are many options that may not be too expensive, such as take-outs and bento (lunch boxes).
Ultilies such as internet, phone bills, electric and water bills may range from JPY10,000 to JPY20,000.
Expenditure will be dependent on individual spending tendencies; ie homecooking may be cheaper than eating out.
A full scholarship such as MEXT starts from JPY135,000 for living expenses and this would usually be sufficient to cover basic needs in Tokyo.
・To find out more on scholarships, please access this page.
In addition to rent and food expenses, students would need to pay for the compulsory National Health Insurance (NHI). Students may expect to pay about JPY2000 to JPY3000. As the NHI covers 70% of your medical fees, please make sure that there is no lapse in payment of your health insurance policy as medical fees in Japan could be very expensive. A visit to the doctor for common cold and medication averages from JPY3000 to JPY5000 with NHI (without NHI will be approximately JPY10,000-JPY15,000).
Other expenditure could include clothes (for four seasons), study materials, healthcare and entertainment, that could range from JPY10,000 to JPY30,000 per month for a single student.
Student living with families would need approximately 1.5 to twice more living expenses than single students.
Overall, the average living expenses for a single student is about JPY130,000 and for those with families, JPY200,000.